December was another month with mixed emotions, but I feel we have ended the year on a high.
We started off the month against Everton. Which was probably our worst game to date. We played our full strength side, against an Everton team that hadn’t won in 5 games. With 59% of the possession, we managed to register zero shots on target. I say again, zero shots on target. We were woeful.
I wasn’t too fussed about the Benfica game. We already topped the group, so a rotated side was played. I was happy to see others get some minutes under their belt.
The Stoke game was confusing. We played well during the match, but our strike force failed us again. Xhaka managed to get 2 yellow cards in the space of two minutes and that was pretty much game over. Unfortunate.
The rest of the results were routine wins. Balde had another good month, as did Chamberlain. We are currently in talks with Chamberlain about a new contract. He’s played great, and with only being 23, I would be very happy to tie him down to a new long term deal.
With Iwobi’s head all over the place, pining for a move, Jeff Reine-Adelaide was brought into the match day squad. He even made his debut against Crystal Palace in a comfortable 2-0 win.
I’m excited about the prospects of Reine-Adelaide. He looks a great talent, and is labelled as a “fairly consistent performer”. If a big offer comes in for Iwobi in the next window, we just might see Reine-Adelaide playing more.
I also saw Akpom receive Young Player of the Month in the Championship with Brighton for the second time in a row. He’s 21 now and valued at £8m. With dribbling, finishing and first tough all rated at 11, I don’t see much future for him at Arsenal. I may decide to cash in on him, sometime in the near future.
The Knockout Phases
With us finishing 1st in our Champions League Group, we had the best chance at receiving a weaker team in the next round. We drew against big spenders Monaco.
They are currently sitting atop Ligue 1 boasting a HUGE 10 point gap over 2nd place PSG after only 19 games. It will be an interesting, but hard tie for sure.
Cech On Par With The Big Boys
Surprisingly, I saw Cech was placed on the bench for the World Team of the Year. With a team that saw no less than 5 players for Bayern Munich, I was really happy to see one of ours in there.
Beating the likes of De Gea, Courtois, Lloris, Buffon. At 34, I don’t know how many years he has left at the top, but I’m sure glad he is with us.
Unfortunately, Sanchez came to me asking to join Bayern because of their much stronger squad. I told him I will be strengthening, but he was having none of it.
Currently, it’s a minor issue. His morale is “Good”, but if a big offer comes in, I may just have to let our talisman go. I hate having unhappy players in the team that can disrupt the dressing room.
It may be a very busy January transfer window for us.
Where Do We Stand?
I’m happy to report that we sit 2nd in the league – 2 points behind Man United. We clawed back some points in the past month which is great to see. Chelsea have been on the up for a long time and Liverpool are languishing in 9th. Will Klopp’s time at Liverpool be over soon? He needs to start picking up some more points, fast!
We head into a tough January month next. With Chelsea, Liverpool, West Ham and Man Utd to play, we could be dropping a few points.
Even more so given the fact our star man is wanting to leave.
Our game against Chelsea has also been blighted by suspensions to Koscielny and Bellerin. Two of our most consistent performers, against a Chelsea team that just saw their manager win Manager of the Month. Typical.
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